Minor League Wrap (5/18-24/09)

Jay Yencich · May 25, 2009 at 6:06 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

I’ll be around for a little while to answer questions today, but I’m flying out to New York again in the afternoon, so if you’re asking later on in the evening, I won’t answer it until Tuesday at the earliest.

Tacoma Rainiers (3-3 this week, 23-20 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 18th 2009
Tacoma 0, Oklahoma City 3 (TEX – 4)
WP: D. Mathis; LP: L. Munoz

Tacoma 1, Oklahoma City 9 (- 3)
WP: E. Ramirez; LP: C. Seddon

Tuesday, May 19th 2009
Off day

Wednesday, May 20th 2009
Off day

Thursday, May 21st 2009
Memphis 6 (STL _ 4), Tacoma 7
WP: A. Baldwin; LP: M. Boggs; SV: R. Messenger

Friday, May 22nd 2009
Memphis 6 (STL – 3), Tacoma 4
WP: C. Mortensen; LP: G. Hernandez; SV: J. Todd

Saturday, May 23rd 2009
Memphis 6 (STL – 4), Tacoma 10
WP: J. Hall; LP: P. Walters; SV: J. Wells

Sunday, May 24th 2009
Memphis 5 (STL – 5), Tacoma 6
WP: B. Downs; LP: J. Todd

Hitter of the Week:
DH Jeff Clement, L/R, 8/21/1983
6 G, 25 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 8/1 K/BB, .400/~.423/.520

This week, I get to highlight an actual future contributor. The only difficulty was deciding between him and Saunders, who collected nine hits in more limited time this week. The case against Clement is that he struck out nearly every third at-bat, but he’s now up to twelve games on his hit streak and he drove in a quarter of the runs for the offense this week. The only thing that should be keeping him out of a Mariners uniform at this point is that his knee is inhibiting his catching ability. As soon as that clears up, call him up.

Honorable Mention:
CF Michael Saunders, L/R, 11/19/1986
4 G, 15 AB, 9 H, 2B, 1/3 K/BB, .600/~.667/.667

Also Honorable Mention:
IF Mike Morse, R/R, 3/22/1982
6 G, 21 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 2/5 K/BB, .429/~.538/.524

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Brodie Downs, 7/19/1979
1-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0/2 K/BB, 4/8 G/F

The performances by the starters mostly mediocre, so I’m again highlighting one of the better relievers. Downs is a guy who discovered he could still pitch while playing casually with a group of buddies. They encouraged him to try out at a local community college, where he garnered enough attention to have the M’s try him out in the 23rd round of the 2007 draft. They’ve pushed him hard since then, and he was in double-A in his first full season. His command has been an impediment thus far, but he’s an interesting story.

Honorable Mention:
RHP Jared Wells, 10/31/1981
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 2.1 IP, H, 3/3 K/BB, 2/2 G/F

Dishonorable Mention:
RHP Josh Hall, 12/16/1980
1-0, G, 9.00 ERA in 3.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1/1 K/BB, 2/6 G/F

From The Training Room:
Saturday saw a rehab appearance by Ryan Rowland-Smith, where he went four innings and gave up a run on solo home run through four innings. He also had one other hit and a K. Jesus Delgado and Tyler Johnson also returned to action. Johnson’s results were solid, but Delgado’s, not so much. Would-be rehabber Cesar Jimenez has not appeared in a game since the 4th of May. Tui has officially had his elbow surgery and Wilson remains out with the ankle injury.

Strange Happenings:

The Rainiers’ walk-off win on Sunday was one of the strangest in recent memory. The inning opened with a ground out and a strikeout, then the following two batters, veterans Woodward and Owens drew walks to put two on. Redman, another vet, then struck out but managed to reach on a wild pitch. This set the stage for a bases-clearing double by Clement to win the game.

The Week in Preview:
5/25-8, vs. Nashville (MIL, 25-19), 1:30 pm PDT Mon, 7:00 pm PDT Tues and Thurs, 11:30 am PDT Weds
5/29-31, at Colorado Springs (COL, 26-16), 6:05 pm PDT, Fri, 12:05 pm PDT Sat and Sun

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (4-3 this week, 17-25 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 18th 2009
Birmingham 3 (CHW + 16), West Tenn 5
WP: M. Rivera; LP: B. Omogrosso; SV: A. Varvaro

Tuesday, May 19th 2009
Birmingham 2 (CHW + 15), West Tenn 6
WP: P. Ryan; LP: K. McCulloch; SV: N. Hill

Wednesday, May 20th 2009
Birmingham 0 (CHW + 14), West Tenn 3
W: Souza (3-2, 3.27); L: Poreda (3-4, 2.53); SV: Hill (2)

Thursday, May 21st 2009
West Tenn 2, Huntsville 7 (MIL 0)
WP: C. Cody; LP: S. Bray

Friday, May 22nd 2009
West Tenn 0, Huntsville 1 (MIL + 1)
WP: D. Hand; LP: N. Hill

Saturday, May 23rd 2009
West Tenn 7, Huntsville 10 (MIL + 2)
WP: M. McClendon; LP: M. Vega; SV: O. Aguilar

Sunday, May 24th 2009
West Tenn 6, Huntsville 3 (MIL + 1)
W: A. Varvaro; L: J. Sandoval

Hitter of the Week:
SS Oswaldo Navarro, R/R, 10/14/1984
7 G, 19 AB, R, 6 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2/3 K/BB, SB, CS, .316/~.409/.421

When the D-Jaxx won this week, they were carried by strong pitching, not by strong hitting. No one was outright horrible, as there were several players with lines not unlike Limonta’s, but there were few standouts, and those that did in some way still aren’t good prospects. Both players listed here have improved somewhat in their ability to hit for average this season, but Navarro gets the nod because his glovework gives him a slim chance of having any kind of major league career beyond the cup of coffee he got three years ago. Mangini, limited to infield corners, seems less likely.

Honorable Mention:
3B Matt Mangini, L/R, 12/21/1985
7 G, 24 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2B, 2 RBI, 7/2 K/BB, .292/~.346/.333

Dishonorable Mention:
LF Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1983
6 G, 21 AB, R, 4 H, 2B, RBI, 6/1 K/BB, .190/~.227/.238

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Justin Souza, 10/22/1985
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.1 IP, 3 H, 6/1 K/BB, 6/7 G/F

It’s not often that I go to three notable pitchers. It’s not that there weren’t bad ones this week, Munoz had another poor performance, but in this case we have three guys who could contribute in the bullpen sometime in the next few years. Souza retired the first nine in order this time out and has only been slightly less effective since moving out of the bullpen. He projects as future middle reliever. Varvaro and Hill could also work out of the bullpen, and they were certainly on this week against teams that haven’t struck out a great deal this year, but Hill is hittable due to lack of stuff and Varvaro’s command would be right at home with some of the others currently in the ‘pen, and that’s not a good thing.

Honorable Mention:
RHP Anthony Varvaro, 10/31/1984
1-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.2 IP, H, 8/4 K/BB, 3/6 G/F

Also Honorable Mention:
LHP Nick Hill, 1/30/1985
0-1, 0.00 ERA in 3.1 IP, 3 H, R (0 ER), 7/1 K/BB, 1/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
Carrera had a minor injury scare earlier this week running out a bunt hit, but he ended up back in action after a few days. Shortly after Leury Bonilla proved healthy enough to get himself out of extended, he got injured again and has been replaced on the roster by Erick Monzon, who moves down from Tacoma. Pena, Orta, and Rohrbaugh are still hurting.

Strange Happenings:
Kyle Parker had an unusual outing this week that I wasn’t sure whether I should highlight. He went seven innings and only allowed three runners to reach via a hit, a walk, and a hit batter, but he only struck out two in that whole span. The loser of Sunday night’s game, as you may have noticed, was former M’s farmhand Juan Sandoval, who still managed to post better numbers than the average pitcher in his league despite having only one functional eye.

The Week in Preview:
5/25, at Huntsville (MIL, 20-19), 11:00 am PDT
5/26-30, vs. Chattanooga (CIN, 18-25), All Times 5:05 pm PDT except Weds (10:05 am PDT)
5/31, at Mississippi (ATL, 20-22), 3:05 pm PDT

High Desert Mavericks (7-0 this week, 30-14 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 18th 2009
Stockton 3 (OAK – 10), High Desert 4
WP: D. Hume; LP: C. Italiano; SV: S. Richard

Tuesday, May 19th 2009
Rancho Cucamonga 8 (LAA – 7), High Desert 19
WP: J. Zapata; LP: R. Fish

Wednesday, May 20th 2009
Rancho Cucamonga 4 (LAA – 8), High Desert 6
W: Paredes (3-2, 4.71); L: E. Jimenez (2-2, 6.82)

Thursday, May 21st 2009
Rancho Cucamonga 9 (LAA – 9), High Desert 10
WP: S. Richard; LP: E. McKiernan

Friday, May 22nd 2009
High Desert 10, Lancaster 4 (HOU – 16)
WP: J. Ramirez; LP: D. Duncan

Saturday, May 23rd 2009
High Desert 7, Lancaster 3 (HOU – 17)
WP: D. Hume; LP: L. Cespedes

Sunday, May 24th 2009
High Desert 10, Lancaster 9 (HOU – 18)
WP: S. Richard; LP: J. Tilghman; SV: P. Aumont

Hitter of the Week:
RF Carlos Peguero, L/L, 2/22/1987
7 G, 28 AB, 12 R, 13 H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 12/5 K/BB, CS, .464/~.545/1.036

Someone knocked Liddi and Dunigan out of the top spots! Don’t get too excited though, because most of the games this week were in Adelanto or Lancaster. Nevertheless, props to Peguero, flawed slugger though he is. He might have some of the best LH power in the system, right up there with Dunigan and Almonte, but he has a noticeable strikeout problem. In addition to that, he’s had trouble with his throwing arm over the years and other aspects of his defense, so he plays roughly half his games at DH. The good news is that he’s one of the sluggers in the system that has improved walk rates this year.

Honorable Mention:
3B Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
7 G, 28 AB, 12 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 9 RBI, 3/4 K/BB, SB, .393/~.469/.714

Also Honorable Mention:
SS Juan Diaz, S/R, 12/12/1988
7 G, 29 AB, 5 R, 11 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, HR, 4/3 K/BB, 2 SB, .373/~.438/.724

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Donnie Hume, 8/29/1985
2-0, 2 GS, 2.91 ERA in 12.1 IP, 11 H (HR), 4 R, 8/3 K/BB, 9/17 G/F, 2 HB

The Mavs are the first team this year to have a perfect week, and Hume got to be a big part of that with two of the wins. The hits and runs allowed aren’t too impressive, but he got to pitch in two of the worst parts in the league this week and still limited the damage, so I’d be more concerned with the lack of Ks on his part. How he managed to give up so many flies without having more than one leave the park, I don’t know. One thing that has helped him limit damage this month as opposed to last is much improved command, evidenced in the six walks in 27.0 IP this month compared to fourteen in 17.1 IP last month.

Honorable Mention:
RHP Adam Harben, 8/19/1983
0-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 4/0 K/BB, 7/1 G/F

Dishonorable Mention:
RHP Nathan Adcock, 2/25/1988
0-0, 2 GS, 7.36 ERA in 11.0 IP, 15 H, 15 R (9 ER), 7/4 K/BB, 17/10 G/F, 2 WP,

From the Training Room:
The one thing that got Dunigan off the hitting list was a groin injury that has pushed him off the roster for the time being. Just as Pineda came off the DL, he went back on again, and so Hensley was picked up from West Tenn and the Mavs and T-Rats exchanged Alfredo Venegas for Adam Harben. Ron Garth retired, moving Dominguez back down to the Cal League. Gavin Dickey also joined the team from extended spring training.

The Week in Preview:
5/25, at Lancaster (HOU, 13-31), 5:00 pm PDT
5/27-30, vs. Lake Elsinore (SD, 24-20), All Times 7:05 pm PDT
5/31, vs. Inland Empire (LAD, 20-24), 3:05 pm PDT

Clinton Lumberkings (3-4 this week, 23-20 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 18th 2009
Clinton 7, Wisconsin 14 (MIL – 5)
WP: E. Nieves; LP: W. Suriel

Tuesday, May 19th 2009
Clinton 1, Wisconsin 2 (MIL – 4)
WP: B. Ritchie; LP: B. Lorin; SV: J. Henderson

Wednesday, May 20th 2009
Lansing 5 (TOR – 11), Clinton 4
WP: Y. Mayora; LP: R. Flores; SV: M. Daly

Thursday, May 21st 2009
Lansing 10 (TOR – 10), Clinton 5
WP: J. Wells; LP: A. Esquibel

Friday, May 22nd 2009
Lansing 4 (TOR – 11), Clinton 6
WP: K. Kasparek; LP: Y. Mayora; SV: R. Flores

Saturday, May 23rd 2009
Great Lakes 6 (LAD + 2), Clinton 12
WP: J. Jimenez; LP: E. Martin

Sunday, May 24th 2009
Great Lakes 1 (LAD + 1), Clinton 2
WP: B. Lorin; LP: B. Blevins; SV: R. Flores

Hitter of the Week:
1B Mario Martinez, 11/13/1989
6 G, 22 AB, 3 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, 6 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .455/~.455/.682

Martinez has not been what people expected him to be this season. He has not been a third baseman, as lingering injuries from spring training have kept him mostly at first, and he has not been the hitter people anticipated him being after he posted a .807 OPS in Pulaski last season. However, if the past week can be taken as any indication, he is starting to turn things around and actually drive the ball. Look as his April numbers. Three extra-base hits out of ten in 55 at-bats is pretty awful, but now that May is on us, he has ten out of twenty-four going for more than one and in 93 ABs thus far. That’s a pretty significant improvement.

Honorable Mention:
3B Nate Tenbrink, L/R, 12/21/1986
7 G, 21 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 3B, 2 RBI, 9/4 K/BB, 2 SB, CS, .381/~.480/.476

Dishonorable Mention:
CF Maximo Mendez, L/L, 11/24/1986
6 G, 19 AB, 2 R, 2 H, RBI, 6/1 K/BB, SB, CS, .105/~.150/.105

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Brett Lorin, 3/31/1987
1-1, 2 GS, 2.03 ERA in 13.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 15/2 K/BB, 6/18 G/F

I’d been waiting until he faced a real challenging offense to start it, but I think it’s clear now. Free Brett Lorin. He went up against the Great Lakes Loons on Sunday afternoon, one of the top offenses in the league, and limited them to one run on a solo shot, and only three others reached through six innings while he struck out seven. His start earlier in the week, when he lasted seven and a third innings and struck out eight, might have been better, had a couple of runs not lucked into scoring. The only reservations I’d have about shipping him to the Cal League are his flyball tendencies and sporadic command lapses.

Honorable Mention:
LHP Bobby LaFromboise, 6/25/1986
0-0, GS, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, 3 H, R, 6/1 K/BB, 1/7 G/F

Also Honorable Mention:
RHP Kenn Kasparek, 9/23/1985
1-0, GS, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 7/0 K/BB, 7/7 G/F [Ended seven-game losing streak]

From the Training Room:
LaFromboise got to move into the rotation with Pribanic heading to the DL. Either he or Venegas will be pushed out when Pribanic gets back, but the LaFromboise start, combined with the Kasparek outing and the two starts by Lorin got me off the hook for writing about how Suriel still sucks. Minor league vet Steve Moss has turned up to give the Lumberkings an extra outfielder on staff and Andres Esquibel joined the team as an additional arm in relief.

Strange Happenings:
Note Kasparek’s Lucky Sevens.

The Week in Preview:
5/25, vs. Great Lakes (LAD, 22-21), 12:00 pm PDT
5/26-8, at Peoria (CHC, 23-19), All Times 4:30 pm PDT
5/29-31, at South Bend (ARI, 20-22), 4:30 pm PDT Friday, 11:00 am PDT Sat and Sun


9 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (5/18-24/09)”

  1. Andy Stallings on May 25th, 2009 9:14 am

    Jay — I’ve been reading and appreciating your work on MM for years, but haven’t ever commented to you. Very glad you’ve got this new feature, additionally.

    I’m wondering about Alex Liddi. He’s been a personal favorite of mine since I saw him in Cedar Rapids in 2007, and I’ve been hopefully checking his lines ever since. It’s been really great to see him catch fire this year, and even knowing that the environment has a good deal to do with his numbers, I’m optimistic that the improvement is real.

    Have you (or anyone else?) had the chance to gather any opinions as to how much of his improvement is sustainable? Is he turning himself into a legitimately good prospect, rather than the simply interesting project he’s always seemed until this season?

    Thanks again.

  2. cdowley on May 25th, 2009 9:28 am

    Thanks once more for your excellent work!

    I noticed you pointed out that Rohrbaugh is still out. Any idea how much longer until he returns?

  3. ivan on May 25th, 2009 10:45 am

    Does anybody think Edilio Colina, the 2B at High Desert, is any kind of prospect? Why or why not? He’s only 20, and at 6′ could fill out and gain some power. Goodness knows the M’s could use some middle IF prospects. Thanks.

  4. Jay Yencich on May 25th, 2009 12:21 pm

    Have you (or anyone else?) had the chance to gather any opinions as to how much of [Liddi’s] improvement is sustainable? Is he turning himself into a legitimately good prospect, rather than the simply interesting project he’s always seemed until this season?

    One thing Liddi’s always received good marks on is his work ethic. The tools have generally been there, it’s just a matter of getting them to translate into results. He’s worked closely with the M’s people in the instructional league pretty much every offseason, so I’m willing to consider that this is indeed a breakthrough and not a prolonged stretch of good luck. The M’s people apparently predicted good things from him this year, for whatever that’s worth. The strikeouts could still use some improvement, getting them down from once every fourth at-bat where they’ve been this year, but I’d like to see him challenged with West Tenn at some point this year, partially because I think he’s due to be put on the 40-man.

    I noticed you pointed out that Rohrbaugh is still out. Any idea how much longer until he returns?

    No idea. The press coverage isn’t especially good out of Jackson. I miss being able to read the San Antonio Express-News online and know everything that was going on with our double-A team.

    Does anybody think Edilio Colina, the 2B at High Desert, is any kind of prospect? Why or why not? He’s only 20, and at 6′ could fill out and gain some power.

    Colina’s in a similar position to his double play partner, Diaz, in that he was pushed to the states early without real results and is now coming into his own in the Cal League. That’s enough to demand closer scrutiny in his performances. While Diaz, I think, deserves to be talked up because he hits better on the road than at home, Colina probably can be overlooked because he’s inept on the road. His skillset over the years has mostly been to produce doubles and get hit by pitches to bolster his OBP. The first is useful, the latter, not so much. He has improved his eye numbers this year and that may be predictive of future development, but I’m just not that interested in him at this stage.

  5. joser on May 25th, 2009 12:55 pm

    Good work, appreciated as always.

    …former M’s farmhand Juan Sandoval, who still managed to post better numbers than the average pitcher in his league despite having only one functional eye.

    So he’s halfway to being an umpire. Always good to have a backup career path.

  6. upperdeck on May 26th, 2009 6:16 am

    I’ve been wondering about Dennis Raben and Jharmidy DeJesus, why neither showed up on a full season roster. Did they not make the cut or are they injured?

  7. Jay Yencich on May 26th, 2009 9:54 am

    I’ve been wondering about Dennis Raben and Jharmidy DeJesus, why neither showed up on a full season roster. Did they not make the cut or are they injured?

    Raben has had a knee issue that kept him from breaking with a full season club. Initially, they weren’t sure if it was going to be something that required a season-ending surgery, but last I heard he was still rehabbing it and probably wouldn’t need to go under the knife. It will probably still take some time to get him back though.

    de Jesus, the club simply decided he needed additional instruction working closely with the player development people, so they left him in extended. He should break camp with Everett again and then move up from there.

  8. Illex Squid on May 26th, 2009 11:41 am

    The win at Tacoma on Sunday was one of those weird things that make baseball fun. They’d been behind most of the game and it felt like they were doomed; the people behind me left after the first out. But as the philosopher said, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” A few unimpressive plays later, the bases were loaded for Clement. He’d had a lousy day, with three strikeouts (he gave the ump a look after the last two) and a GIDP. But he ripped one down the first base line that bounced off the wall, and suddenly a crappy game turned into a win, and Clement went from goat to hero. The team looked like a bunch of little leaguers celebrating in the middle of the diamond.

  9. homi on May 26th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Hey Jay,

    Wasn’t able to check in on monday. Great update!

    I’ve looking at the top 10 starting pitchers within our organiztion. Who’s yours? Thanks

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.